KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before July 24th, 1983 many baseball fans had no idea what pine tar was or what it was used for.
Now, nearly 30 years later, we all know pine tar was responsible for one of the most confrontational incidents involving a player and an umpire.
It doesn’t seem like three decades but on Wednesday it will be 30 years since George Brett emerged from a dugout at Yankee Stadium, raging mad, after being ejected from the game by MLB umpire Tim McClelland.
Brett had just homered off of Yankees closer Goose Gossage to give the Royals a one-run lead. But Yankees manager Billy Martin protested and called out Brett’s bat saying the future hall of famer had used too much pine tar on the barrel of the bat.
McClelland agreed, Brett got the hook, and the rest is history.
The Royals protested, it was upheld and they eventually won the game 5-4. Now on the eve of the 30 year anniversary, Brett, now a hall of famer and a Royals hitting coach is reliving the memory.
“It was something I did good, I hit a home run off one of the toughest relief pitchers in baseball, a hall of fame guy,” Brett said during a press conference. “If I did not use an illegal bat, which I didn’t, it was proven that I didn’t. But, if I had not been suspected of using an illegal bat, we wouldn’t be doing this. It would have been a July 24th game, 30 years ago, that no one would have remembered.”